Time Columnist Finds it Easier to Explain Murdering Jews Than Killing Other French People

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Hyper CacherVivienne Walt, aTIME magazine writer, has written how difficult it is to explain the Paris terror attacks to her child.

She writes:

In January it had been relatively simple to explain to my child, who was then eight, why the cartoonists had been the target, and why a Jewish supermarket was attacked—grim as the details were. ….Answering questions over dinner on Sunday was more difficult, however. The targets this time were young people having fun on a warm Friday night; people, in fact, who were his age not all that long ago.

Really? It is easier to explain why terrorists would murder Jews than to explain why they would murder other Parisians?

I wonder how Ms. Walt explained the January attacks in a way that her son would understand. Are Jews considered natural targets in the Walt household? Or is it because of their presumed association with that little country that happens to be the Jewish state? I would love to know what makes shooting Jewish shoppers relatively explainable to Vivienne Walt.

Yoav Hattab, murdered in the HyperCacher kosher supermarket attack in January, was 21, and Yohan Cohen was 22. They were pretty young. In fact, they were younger than nearly every victim of the more recent Paris attacks. But apparently that didn’t make it more difficult to explain their murders to Vivienne’s 8 year old son. Shopping for food is probably as familiar an experience to her son as sitting in a cafe or going to a concert, but clearly that didn’t make the job of explaining those murders any more difficult.

Somehow, their being Jewish made it all understandable.

So what exactly did she say so that her son would be secure in the knowledge that only attacking Jews (and cartoonists) is not something he needs to empathize with or worry about?

Grappling to find the logic in this, my son pondered the situation, and asked, “Well, why did they attack those restaurants and not other restaurants?”

It was a good question, hitting at the most terrifying aspect of all—the randomness of the attacks. Friday’s attacks impacted so many regular Parisians because they had been aimed directly at the most normal of people — the drinkers, the concert-goers, the soccer fans.

Implying, again, that the Jews going shopping are not exactly “the most normal of people,” and in a small way their murders are more logical than those of the drinkers and soccer fans.

Does Vivienne Walt harbor antisemitic feelings? If so, it is certainly deep in her subconscious. After all, she wrote an article for TIME in the wake of the HyperCacher attacks about how it affected the Jewish community. But here it is. Murdering “normal” French people is something that even adults have a hard time grappling with, but murdering French Jews is something that can be explained even to a pre-teen,

And the editors at TIME did not even think for a second that there was anything wrong with this piece.


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  1. Based on the context of what was quoted there does not seem to be any offensive language towards Jews. She was just telling her child that unfortunately Jews have been targets in the past and therefore her young child should not feel threatened. The latest attack seemed to threaten all people and for a young child that seem to be scarier.

  2. She iss no different than anyone else. Westerners don’t care about killings in rhwanda or syria…because they are the result of old religious disputes in backward countries. so too, she felt safe as a modern Parisian knowing she is not a target…..her stupidity was to publish this apathy..

  3. In other words,It is more simplistic
    Would she want to tell her child that her society is degenerate and obviously appears incapable and unworthy of defending itself to foreigners?How would she?

  4. I don’t see anything wrong with what she wrote. Jews are a separate people who have been persecuted and that’s why we were targeted. She didn’t justify it. As you note, she also felt that it was easier to explain the attack on the cartoonists because the terrorists didn’t like what they did. Does it mean she’s anti cartoonist? She was writing how it was difficult to explain the random shootings because of the lack of control people feel in such a case. Jews have enough discrimination and there are enough valid concerns about anti Semitism around. Don’t make a big deal about nothing. It delegitimizes the real concerns when they come up.

  5. While there is nothing “wrong” with what she wrote it does reflect a general apathy that society has toward acts of evil… until it hits home. Friederich Neimoeller famously penned “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist, etc, Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” Perhaps Ms. Walt is, in her own words, trying to express the same sentiment.

  6. The Frenchies and other Europeans got a demonstration of how peaceful the “religion of peace” is. It is painful to see people suffer, but it is joyful to witness poetic justice. They didn’t want us in Europe – they got Arabs and Turks, they created and propped up palestinianism and Islamism in furtherance of their political goals – they got burned by it, they mocked us with hypocritical demands of restraint – they themselves got mocked. Hashem runs the world, and he’ll turn our enemies’ conspiracy against themselves; hopefully, we’ll have enough attention span to see through our enemies’ blabbering and enjoy the demonstration of divine justice.

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